To Hunt a Sub by Jacqui Murray

THAS-small [16806]An unlikely team is America’s only chance

A brilliant Ph.D. candidate, a cynical ex-SEAL, and a quirky experimental robot team up against terrorists intent on stealing America’s most powerful nuclear weapon, the Trident submarine. By all measures, they are an unlikely trio–one believes in brawn, another brains, and the third is all geek. What no one realizes is this trio has a secret weapon: the wisdom of a formidable female who died two million years ago.

Preview Chapter from To Hunt a Sub

Three days before present

Ten hours and thirty-seven more minutes and the crew of the USS Hampton SSN 767 would be home. Seasoned submariners, the six-month covert intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance tour down the eastern seaboard of South America had gone flawlessly and silently. The Atlantic is a large ocean and the Los Angeles-class sub’s noise footprint small. Once the boat cleared Cuba, the crew would relax.
The Captain sipped the morning’s fourth cup of burned coffee when the hair on the back of his neck prickled. He glanced around, trying to identify what bothered him.
“Captain,” the Watchstander’s gaze bobbed from the Executive Officer to his watchstation. “Navigation is non-responsive.” Confusion tinged his words.
That was it. A change in the deck’s subtle rumble. Before the Captain could react to the impossibility that guidance controls had crashed, every monitor in the sub’s nerve center shut down.
He hadn’t seen this in twenty years of driving subs. All personnel made a hole as he rushed toward the Control Center, shadowed by the XO.
“Sonar readings?” The Captain called to Sonarman Second Class Andy Rikes in the compartment just aft of Control, barely larger than a broom closet but elbow-to-elbow with operators, fingers flying across keyboards and eyes locked onto screens that blinked a dull grey.
Rikes answered, “Negative, Sir. The hydrophones are working, but aren’t sending raw data, like someone pulled the plug and flushed everything out to sea. Trying to fix it.” His voice was hopeful.
If the screen had worked, Sonarman Rikes would have seen the ping, a final gasp before everything electrical collapsed.
The COB—Chief of Boat—interrupted, “Captain. Reactor Scram!” The sub’s nuclear power had evaporated. “Nuclear technicians isolating the problem. Battery back-up is being attempted.”
“Shift propulsion from main engines to EPM,” an auxiliary electric motor that could turn the propeller.
“Negative, Captain. Non-responsive.” Fear leaked from his voice.
The depth meter no longer worked, but the XO guessed that the sub was angled downward at 10 degrees
“Blow main ballast tanks!”
“No response, Captain.”
“How deep is the ocean floor in this sector of the Atlantic?”
The Sonarman answered, “It varies between 1,000 and 16,000”
16,000 feet was well below the sub’s crush depth.
“There are seamounts and ridges spread throughout. We could get lucky and land on one. Or not.”
“Inform US Strategic Command of our situation.”
“Sir, comms are down.”
“Release the message buoy,” though all that told the world was they were in trouble. It could quickly drift miles from their position.
The Captain continued, voice calm, face showing none of the worry that filled his thoughts, “I want all department heads and Chief Petty Officers in front of me in five minutes. I want the status on every system they own and operate. Wake up whoever you need to.” He had a bad feeling about this.

“Gentlemen, solutions.” The Captain looked first at XO, then COB and finally NAV, the Navigation Officer who turned to the senior chief of navigation.
“It’s like an electromagnetic pulse hit us, which can’t happen underwater…” then he shrugged as though to say, I have no idea, Sir.
They practiced drills for every sort of emergency, but not this one. No one considered a complete electrical shutdown possible.
“We’re checking everything, but nothing is wrong. It just won’t work.”
“Where’s CHENG?” The Chief of Engineering.
“Troubleshooting, Sir.” COB’s voice was efficient, but tense.
The Captain didn’t wait. “Condition Alpha. Full quiet—voices whispers, all silent, no movement not critical. Defcon 2,” the second-highest peacetime alert level.
No one knew who their enemy was or why they were under attack, but they had one and they were.
“XO, get lanterns up here.”

Within an hour, the massive warship had settled to the ocean floor like the carcass of a dead whale. It teetered atop an ocean ridge, listing starboard against a jagged seamount, and the gentle push of an underwater current from a cliff that plunged into a murky darkness. Every watertight door was closed. As per protocol, the oxygen level was reduced to suppress a fire hazard. Without climate controls, the interior had already reached 60 degrees. It would continue dipping as it strove to match the bone-chilling surrounding water temperature. Hypothermia would soon be a problem. For now, though, they were alive.
The hull groaned as though twisted by a giant squid.
The Captain peered into the gloomy waters that surrounded the sub. “Thoughts, XO?”
“We’re stable for the moment, barring a strong underwater current.”
Based on the creaking protests from the hull, they were at or beyond crush depth. Any deeper, the outside pressure would snap the HY-80 outer hull and sea water would roar into the living compartments. Everyone would be dead in seconds, either drowned or impaled on the ragged remains of the sub by a force in excess of a Category Five hurricane.
“We’re beyond the depth of the Steinke Hoods,” escape equipment that included full body suits, thermal protection, and a life raft. Budget cuts had eliminated funding for more advanced solutions.
XO pointed toward a darker expanse of black just yards from the sub. “No telling how deep that crevice is.”
“Gather the crew in the Forward compartment. Seal all other compartments. Ration water. Start O2 candles when levels reach 50% normal. Did the message buoy launch?”
“Yes, sir.”
That was a relief. The Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) deployed in emergencies from shore couldn’t assist if it didn’t know they needed help.

Quote from author:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the captivating prehistoric female who unwittingly becomes the guide and mentor to Kalian Delamagente as she struggles to stop a madman from destroying her life.

Book information:
Title and author: To Hunt a Sub by J. Murray
Release Date: August 15, 2016 by Structured Learning
Genre: Thriller
Cover by: Paper and Sage
Available at:
Kindle August 15th

Purchase Link

jmm pic [16808]

Author bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


What does your toilet paper say about you? 20/20 Five Blog Hop


I set aside some time this weekend to write, and to catch up on the blogs I enjoy. I’m about to be whisked away from my desk, and my plans turned upside down, but not before I’ve taken part in this week’s blog hop 🙂

So, let’s get started.

1.How would you describe your hometown in 10 words or less?

Proud, industrial, hard-working and loyal.

2.What is your fondest childhood memory?

Tough question, I have mixed feelings about my childhood. I do remember laughing a lot, with my sister. When we were young she had the ability to make me laugh just by a look. So much that my sides hurt and I couldn’t catch my breath. You know like the really good physical comedians, who don’t need to do much to set you off.

I know the questions call for one memory, but I also remember reading my stories to my Dad. I miss him every day and, sometimes, when I read aloud to check the tone of what I’ve written – I imagine he can still hear me and it helps.

3.Finish this sentence: I love it when _______________

you wake up early and realise its the weekend!

4.A friend asks you to recommend a travel destination. Where do you recommend and why?

Barcelona – it has everything; beaches, history, culture, beauty…

5.Now on to an age old debate. Since it’s invention way back when, people have gotten irritated and even into arguments because it was on the wrong way. The question is: Toilet paper, over or under?

That sounds like one of those philosophical questions that dictates the kind of person you are. I’m not sure what it says about me that I’ve never even thought about it! I could go to my bathroom and check, but that would mean a reflection I’m not ready to make! 🙂

I had fun answering the questions this week. If you want to take part, visit 20/20 Five and join the party!

Until next time.


I tried to stay on point…honest! 20/20 Five Blog Hop

2020-e1390359113214I’m a little late in answering this week, but it’s time to hop on over to 20/20 Five and tackle those questions.

Here they are:

1. What is your favorite food?

Mexican was the first thing that popped into my head, so we’ll leave it at that. If I think too long about it I’ll probably change my mind 

2. What do you notice first when you meet someone?

Their hands…I know, it’s random, but I have this strange fascination. You might think it’s because I’m a sign language interpreter and use my hands to communicate, but it started way before I fell in love with BSL. Strangely, when I’m signing, it’s not the person’s hands I looking at then, but their eyes, and their facial expressions. So I guess you could say that after noticing a person’s hands, the next thing I see is their face, and what they’re trying to communicate (beyond words). Okay, now I’m veering off the subject (no surprise there).

3. What is your favorite sport to play or watch?

I don’t play sports, I’m useless at them. Even thinking about my school days and the humiliation of getting picked last is enough to send me straight to rehab! But seriously, I’ve played Rounders with my family and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m usually laughing so hard that I can’t run, but it doesn’t have to be all about the winning 

I don’t watch a great deal of sport, but I love to be at a ground; football, rugby, cricket – whatever. I feed off the crowd and the atmosphere in general. There’s nothing like a live match.

4. What is you most essential appliance?

My kettle – without caffeine I can’t function. If I don’t get coffee in the morning I’m not human and I wouldn’t wish that on anybody! 

5. Give your 16 year old self, three words of encouragement.

Don’t give up!

Thanks for reading.

I’m hopping back over to 20/20 Five


1. What blog post are you most proud of? Link us to it.

I’m proud of the work I’ve put into the prompt series, and I’ve actually got a lot planned in the coming months. I will be launching a more generic series, which caters to non-fiction because, let’s face it – we live our own story everyday! Featured Fiction, which is part of the Prompt Series, is also something I’m developing and I love creating new challenges every week.

I do, occasionally, write about life in general on here, and so I’m going to point you to a post others particularly liked (it’s short and sweet too!). Weekly Photo Challenge: Family

2. What does your blog screen name mean?

The idea behind Writing Room 101 was to create a meeting place for all those interested in the art; the reader, the writer, even the candlestick maker. An area to share experiences, discuss, debate and learn from each other. It’s all about the collaboration, and pretty much anything goes – in the room!

3. Do you have a collection of anything?

Books! I have hundreds. I have far too many book cases, and having just moved house, the twinges in my back from carrying box after box of books is enough to steer me towards a Kindle!

4. Do you prefer face-to-face communication, talking on the phone, or texting?

I’d like to think I’m a good communicator, especially given the fact I’m an interpreter. But if I’m being honest, I communicate best through the written word. For those I don’t know particularly well,  I lean towards text.

5. What sound do you love? What sound do you hate?

I love the sound of laughter; it’s contagious and it instantly lifts my mood. I hate the sound of wasps…that buzzing that stays with me long after the culprit has gone and has the ability to reduce me to a gibbering wreck!

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog hop, courtesy of 20/20 Hines Sight. You can find more information by clicking here.

Until next time, thanks for reading.


Hop on over to 20/20 Hines Sight

I talk about WR101 being a collaborative blog, and in the spirit of cooperation I’ve decided to take part in a blog-hop. I stumbled across a great site (20/20 Hines Sight), with plenty of hidden gems for readers and writers alike. Why not head over and join the fun.

One of the regular features, 20/20 Five, takes place every Friday. You’ll find more information if you click on the link, but it’s basically a way for the community to come together and share by asking and responding to a series of questions.

2020-e1390359113214Here are the questions, and my answers, for this week’s hop.

Put your iPod or MP3 player on shuffle and tell us the first three songs that come up?

I could make this up to sound more cultured, more musically inclined, or certainly cooler – there’s no rule saying we have to be completely forthcoming. But I’ll be honest because, let’s face it, if we were all the same there wouldn’t be a need for the question. So…deep breath…

1. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers – Islands in the Stream

2. Bruno Mars – Count on Me

3. Les Misérables: The Motion Picture Soundtrack – One Day More

Everybody’s Got Talent, what’s your? The stranger the better?

I’m quite talented at folding paper! I enjoy origami, especially the kind that tricks the mind and entertains. I have done for as long as I can remember. That’s about as interesting, or as strange, as my talents get, though I do have a rather embarrassing story that might score points. I was around seventeen and took part in a work experience placement for a charity. On my second day, when the supervisor asked what I’d been doing the night before I calmly explained I’d been practising Kama Sutra! I, of course, meant origami and after stuttering through a retraction, was able to laugh about it with her. I still don’t know why the word popped into my head, but I still have to think whenever I talk about origami!

Do you have any strange phobias?

No strange phobias or even funny anecdotes to share. I’m afraid of wasps – it’s an irrational fear born of their resemblance to one of hell’s fiery instruments (told you it’s not rational).

What was the last lie you told?

I can’t really think of any, apart from the little white lies we tell to make ourselves, or others, feel better. When I was a little girl my Dad told me that all our lies were tallied up and if we’d told enough we didn’t get into heaven! It worked, because even though I’m no longer that gullible (not quite), that doesn’t mean I’m taking any chances!

Do you believe in Karma?

Absolutely. I’ve always believed in the importance of treating others the way I want to be treated myself.

That’s it for this week.

Thanks for reading.